How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
How nice is it that we are allowed to travel again?! Our family did not travel much during the pandemic, and my adventure-craving spirit felt a bit trapped. But with restrictions lifted and negative tests in hand, we’ve gotten to venture out a bit more over the past few months.
Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, nobody wants to arrive at their destination feeling under the weather. In this article, I’m going to share with you our favorite wellness practices to boost your immune system and support your nervous system before, during, and after travel!
First, I’ll direct you to my husband Beau’s best travel supplements. He doesn’t get into this functional nutrition thing 100%, but he certainly has his solid base of dietary interventions and supplement regimens for different times of year. Aside from a bit of a janky knee from Ultimate Frisbee late last fall, he is healthy as a horse (thank you, Lord!) and does a great job taking care of himself.
See his travel supplement recommendations here.
Supplements can help, for sure- but there are also some great foundational lifestyle interventions that will keep you safe as you travel for spring break or summer vacation. Or for yet another club volleyball tournament weekend.
Through all stages of travel, it’s important to remain hydrated by consuming plenty of beverages like water, coconut water, bone broth, and herbal teas. It’s also a great idea to snack on foods with a high-water content like cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and pickles. Fiber and water will keep you pooping like a champ away from your home, and will also stave off impulse purchases at the airport or gas station. All of these foods are easy to prepare and chop before travel. Carry them with you in an insulated lunch bag or just in ziploc baggies.
Your daily hydration goal should be roughly half your body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you’re a 140-pound person you should consume around 70 fluid ounces of hydrating beverage per day.
If you can carry a reusable water bottle with you, ideally glass or stainless steel, adding a travel water filter like this one is helpful to maintain adequate hydration at every stage of your trip. If you’re flying, wait to fill your water bottle until you get through security.
Overall, do your best to limit alcohol, soda, coffee, caffeinated tea, and juice as they’ll cause further dehydration. If you’re on vacation and plan on drinking plenty of alcohol (or know your body is dehydrated), boost your hydration with this quick and easy DIY electrolyte beverage!
Bonus electrolyte recipe: Add a pinch of unrefined mineral salt and a squeeze of organic lemon (or any citrus) to your glass of water. The Himalayan sea salt carries 84 trace minerals that act as sponges for our cells to absorb the water and the squeeze of lemon is a pop of fresh flavor with a boost of Vitamin C!
Before, during, and after travel, it is so important to fuel your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods. Focus on high-quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables in every color of the rainbow so you can nourish your body with the macronutrients and micronutrients needed to support and balance your immune system. Every grocery store has protein and produce, so grab some before your travel date. I’ve stashed tons of fruits and veggies in my checked baggage without a problem, and I’ll carry apples and pears and even rotisserie chicken in my purse while traveling.
Packing travel snacks for both legs of your trip is key! Options like homemade trail mix with dark chocolate, jerky bars, turkey and crackers, nut butter on rice cakes, and as many fruits and vegetables as you can bring will ensure you’re nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals you’ll need to stay healthy.
Another favorite travel practice is researching healthy food options ahead of time. Look for a local health-food co-op, farmers market, or a local eatery serving farm to table to have healthy good options available to you throughout your trip. Sometimes my clients will even send me a photo of the menu at an unfamiliar restaurant and we’ll walk through picking healthy options together.
If you’re staying at a resort, call their food services department before you leave to give them a heads up about allergies or food preferences so they can prepare for you! Most places are more than accommodating, so don’t be afraid to ask. However, if you don’t want to be a Karen, stick to the basics of meat and veggies when ordering and throw some fruit in your purse to enjoy after the meal.
Good rest is as important to our health as eating, drinking, and breathing. Times of high stress require quality sleep to provide our bodies with the opportunity to repair and rebuild. Support your physical and mental health by getting 8 hours of sleep (or more) if possible per night. If you struggle to fall asleep in a new environment, avoid caffeine too late in the day, stay away from electronics one hour before bedtime, and dab some lavender essential oil on your pillow for a soothing and relaxing effect. I also like magnesium to help sleep.
If you suffer from allergies, or even mold sensitivity, bringing a travel air filter like this one is incredibly useful to sanitize and cleanse your air, allowing your body to fall into a deeper sleep and reducing further stress and inflammation.
STRESS MANAGEMENT & SELF-CARE
While stress reduction and self-care may seem like an afterthought when it comes to travel, they should be at the forefront of your mind because these practices are vital to maintaining your health and well-being.
Stress has been shown to suppress the immune system, making it more likely that get sick while traveling or once you get home. There are many different practices and modalities that you can incorporate on your trip to boost immune function and reduce stress, including deep breathing, prayer and Bible study, sauna, sunlight, and movement!
Maintaining hydration, nutrition, sleep, and self-care throughout your travel experience will boost your immune system, improve digestion, support detoxification, and reduce the overall stress on your body! In addition to these travel-friendly wellness tips, it’s a great idea to work with your healthcare practitioner for individualized supplement suggestions to further support your system as a whole during times of high stress. Happy travels! Tell me- where are you going this spring or summer?